Gender Equality is a Shared Experience

This month Conrad Liveris, a workforce diversity specialist, is our guest blogger.

Men can seem confused about how they can best support women and I understand that. Men who recognise the privileges they have been given and want to do something to better fix the lay of the land can come up stumps.

As it stands the options are pretty limited, sign a pledge here or attend an event there, which is hardly revolutionary and barely engaging in the long-term.

I tend to look at the evidence, and it is clear that greater effort needs to be focused on empowering women to create and define their own futures. Independence to contribute, on their own terms.

Most people can sign up to that.

This is a principle that is increasingly guiding Australia’s aid program, championed and embedded by Julie Bishop.

Most of us don’t have the resources of government or command billions of dollars to achieve gender equality.

Bringing people together to coalesce around a common goal is something which is integral to the achieve gender equality.  It is a goal worth pursuing but we cannot do it alone. That is why organisations like 100 Women are so important, this integrating of like-minded people with capacity to give targeting issues facing women.

Essential, needed and visionary for many in Australia that can achieve lasting change.

For many of you, since signing up to be a 100 Women member you will likely have found gender equality closer to the front of your mind.

That is part of the value we see.  The crystallising of intent means that we notice and consider gender equality more.

I spend a lot of my time thinking about women in the workplace and how we can push toward greater gender inclusion.  When I work with men on this issue I find actions speak louder than good intentions, that if we really want them to change they need to do something.

Pursuing gender equality comes in many forms.

Calling out crass comments, setting targets around representation, raising the diversity question in management meetings are genuinely the easy things to do.

From here we see a ripple effect.  Gender equality works it way closer to front of mind.  And so the duty to act when we see gender inequality in other forums begins to sit with us.

How we do that is showing the impact of our outcomes.

UN Women evidence shows that when we give financially to women it is her immediate community who benefits just as much.  Looking at this close to home we see this in Aboriginal communities and we see it in our communities when women return to work after pregnancy.

The best contribution men can make to gender equality is to provide women the space and capacity to thrive, on their own terms.

First published 2016.

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